1. Line

There are plenty of different types of lines, all defined by their length being greater than their width. Lines can be revolution or dynamic depending on how the artist chooses to use them. They aid determine the motion, direction and also energy in a occupational of art. We see line all around us in our day-to-day lives; call wires, tree branches, jet contrails and winding roads are just a couple of examples. Look in ~ the photograph listed below to see how line is component of natural and constructed environments.

You are watching: A series of different values that are grouped together is called a ________.

In this image of a lightning storm we can see many different lines. Definitely the jagged, meandering lines of the lightning itself overcome the image, adhered to by the right lines of the skyline structures and also the coast line. Over there are an ext subtle currently too, choose the lights along the buildings. Lines are also implied by the reflect in the water.

The Nazca lines in the arid seaside plains the Peru day to nearly 500 BCE were scratched into the rocky soil, depicting animals on an significant scale, so large that lock are finest viewed from the air. Let’s look at exactly how the different kinds that line are made.


Diego Velazquez’s Las Meninas from 1656, ostensibly a portrait the the Infanta Margarita, the daughter that King Philip IV and Queen Mariana the Spain, provides a sumptuous amount of creative genius; that is sheer dimension (almost ten feet square), painterly format of naturalism, bright effects, and the enigmatic figures placed transparent the canvas–including the artist self –is among the great paintings in western art history. Let’s research it (below) to uncover just how Velazquez uses basic elements and principles of arts to attain such a masterpiece.


Diego Velazquez, ras Meninas, 1656, oil on canvas, 125.2” x 108.7”. Prado, Madrid. CC BY-SA

Actual lines are those that room physically present. The leaf of the wood stretcher bar at the left the Las Meninas is an actual line, as room the snapshot frames in the background and the linear decorative aspects on some of the figures’ dresses. How plenty of other really lines deserve to you uncover in the painting?

Implied lines are those developed by visually connecting 2 or an ext areas together. The gaze to the Infanta Margarita—the blonde central figure in the composition—from the meninas, or maids the honor, to the left and also right the her, space implied lines. They visually attach the figures. Through visually connecting the space between the heads of every the figures in the painting we have a feeling of jagged implied line the keeps the lower component of the ingredient in motion, balanced against the darker, much more static upper locations of the painting. Implied present can additionally be developed when two areas of different colors or tones come together. Have the right to you identify an ext implied lines in the painting? Where? Implied lines are uncovered in three-dimensional artworks, too. The sculpture the the Laocoon below, a number from Greek and Roman mythology, is, together with his sons, being strangled by sea snakes sent by the goddess Athena as wrath versus his warnings come the Trojans not to accept the Trojan horse. The sculpture sets implied lines in motion as the numbers writhe in agony versus the snakes.


Laocoon Group, roman inn copy of Greek original, Vatican Museum, Rome. Picture by Marie-Lan Nguyen. CC BY-SA

Straight or classic lines provide structure to a composition. They have the right to be oriented to the horizontal, vertical, or diagonal axis the a surface. Directly lines space by nature visually stable, while still providing direction come a composition. In Las Meninas, you can see lock in the canvas support on the left, the wall surface supports and doorways ~ above the right, and in the background in matrices ~ above the wall spaces in between the framed pictures. Moreover, the small horizontal lines created in the stair edge in the background help anchor the whole visual style of the painting. Vertical and also horizontal right lines carry out the many stable compositions. Diagonal right lines are usually much more visually dynamic, unstable, and also tension-filled.


Straight lines, 11 July 2012, Creator: Oliver Harrison. CC BY

Expressive lines are curved, adding an organic, more dynamic personality to a occupational of art. Expressive present are regularly rounded and follow undetermined paths. In Las Meninas you can see lock in the aprons ~ above the girls’ dresses and also in the dog’s folded hind leg and also coat pattern. Look at again in ~ the Laocoon to view expressive present in the figures’ flailing limbs and also the sinuous form of the snakes. Indeed, the sculpture seems to be made up of nothing yet expressive lines, shapes and forms.


Organic lines, 11 July 2012, Creator: Oliver Harrison. CC BY

There are various other kinds of line that include the characteristics of those above yet, take away together, assist create added artistic elements and richer, much more varied compositions. Refer to the images and examples below to become familiar v these species of line.

Outline, or contour heat is the most basic of these. They develop a path about the leaf of a shape. In fact, outlines often define shapes.


Outline, 11 July 2012, Creator: Oliver Harrison. CC BY

Hatch currently are recurring at quick intervals in normally one direction. They provide shading and also visual texture to the surface of an object.


Hatch, 11 July 2012, Creator: Oliver Harrison. CC BY

Crosshatch currently provide added tone and texture. They can be oriented in any direction. Multiple class of crosshatch lines can offer rich and also varied shading come objects by manipulating the pressure of the drawing tool to produce a large range that values.


Crosshatch, 11 July 2012, Creator: Oliver Harrison. CC BY

Line high quality is that sense of character installed in the method a heat presents itself. Particular lines have qualities that differentiate them indigenous others. Hard-edged, jagged lines have a staccato visual movement while organic, flowing lines create a much more comfortable feeling. Meandering lines have the right to be one of two people geometric or expressive, and you deserve to see in the examples how your indeterminate courses animate a surface to various degrees.


Lines, 11 July 2012, Creator: Oliver Harrison. CC BY

Although line as a visual element generally plays a supporting function in visual art, there are wonderful examples in which line carries a strong cultural significance as the major subject matter.

Calligraphic present use quickness and also gesture, more akin to paint strokes, come imbue one artwork v a fluid, lyrical character. To see this distinctive line quality, look up the job-related of Chinese poet and artist Dong Qichang, dating from the Ming empire (1555-1637). A much more geometric instance from the Koran, created in the Arabic calligraphic style, days from the 9th century.

Both this examples show how artists use line as both a form of writing and a visual arts form. American artist note Tobey (1890–1976) was influenced by eastern calligraphy, adapting its kind to the action of pure paint within a modern-day abstract style described as white writing.

2. Shape

A shape is defined as an fastened area in two dimensions. By an interpretation shapes are always flat, however the mix of shapes, color, and also other method can do shapes show up three-dimensional, as forms. Shapes deserve to be created in plenty of ways, the most basic by enclosing an area through an outline. They can additionally be make by bordering an area with other shapes or the placement of various textures alongside each other—for instance, the shape of one island surrounded by water. Because they space more facility than lines, shapes are usually more important in the setup of compositions. The examples listed below give united state an idea of just how shapes are made.


Geometric Shapes, 11 July 2012, Creator: Oliver Harrison. CC BY

Referring back to Velazquez’s Las Meninas, it is essentially an arrangement of shapes; organic and also hard-edged, light, dark and also mid-toned, that solidifies the composition within the larger shape of the canvas. Looking at it this way, we can view any type of work of art, whether 2 or three-dimensional, realistic, summary or non-objective, in terms of shapes alone.

Geometric shapes vs. Organic Shapes

Shapes have the right to be further categorized into geometric and also organic. Instances of geometric shapes are the people we have the right to recognize and also name: squares, triangles, circles, hexagons, etc. Organic forms are those the are based on organic or living things or space more complimentary form: the shape of a tree, face, monkey, cloud, etc.

3. Form

Form is periodically used to describe a shape that has actually an implied third dimension. In various other words, one artist may shot to make components of a flat image appear three-dimensional. Notice in the drawing below how the artist provides the different shapes appear three-dimensional with the usage of shading. It’s a level image but shows up three-dimensional.

When photo is very realistic in regards to its creates (as well as color, space, etc.) such together this painting by Edwaert Collier, we contact that trompe l’oeil, French because that “fool the eye.”

Edweart Collier, Trompe l’oeil through Writing Materials,oil on canvas, c. 1702.This image is in the general public domain.

4. Space

Space is the empty area surrounding or in between real or comprise objects. People categorize space: there is external space, that limitless void we enter past our sky; inside space, which lives in people’s minds and imaginations, and personal space, the important yet intangible area that surrounds every individual and also which is violated if someone rather gets as well close. Pictorial an are is flat, and the digital realm lives in cyberspace. Arts responds to all of these type of space.

Many artists space as came to with room in their functions as they are with, say, shade or form. Over there are many ways for the artist to present ideas of space. Mental that countless cultures traditionally usage pictorial an are as a window to check out realistic subject issue through, and through the subject matter they present ideas, narratives and also symbolic content. The creation of linear perspective, an include geometric pictorial construct dating from fifteenth-century Europe, affords us the specific illusion that three-dimensional an are on a level surface, and also appears come recede into the distance with the use of a horizon line and vanishing point(s). You have the right to see exactly how one-point straight perspective is collection up in the examples below:


One-Point straight Perspective, 11 July 2012, Creator: Oliver Harrison. CC BY

One-point perspective occurs as soon as the receding lines appear to converge in ~ a single point ~ above the horizon and also used as soon as the level front of things is encountering the viewer. Note: Perspective can be offered to show the loved one size and also recession into space of any kind of object, but is most efficient with hard-edged three-dimensional objects such together buildings.

A standard Renaissance artwork making use of one allude perspective is Leonardo da Vinci’s The critical Supper from 1498. Da Vinci composes the occupational by locating the vanishing point directly behind the head of Christ, thus drawing the viewer’s fist to the center. His arms mirror the receding wall lines, and, if we follow them together lines, would certainly converge in ~ the very same vanishing point.

Leonardo da Vinci, The last Supper, 1498. Fresco. Santa Maria della Grazie. Work is in the general public domain.

Two-point view occurs when the upright edge the a cube is dealing with the viewer, exposing two sides that recede right into the distance, one to each vanishing point.


Two-Point Perspective, 11 July 2012, Creator: Oliver Harrison. CC BY

View Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris Street, merganser Weather from 1877 come see exactly how two-point view is supplied to give specific view to an city scene. The artist’s composition, however, is more facility than simply his use of perspective. The figures are deliberately inserted to straight the viewer’s eye native the front right of the photo to the building’s front leaf on the left, which, prefer a ship’s bow, acts as a cleaver to plunge both sides toward the horizon. In the middle of this intuitive recession a lamp short article stands firmly in the center to arrest ours gaze indigenous going appropriate out the back of the painting. Caillebotte consists of the little metal eight at the top right the the short article to straight us again along a horizontal path, now maintaining us native traveling turn off the peak of the canvas. As reasonably spare together the left next of the job-related is, the artist crams the ideal side with hard-edged and organic shapes and also forms in a complicated play of optimistic and an adverse space.

The perspective device is a social convention fine suited come a traditional western europe idea of the “truth,” that is, an accurate, clear rendition of observed reality. Even after the invention of direct perspective, plenty of cultures traditionally use a flatter photographic space, relying top top overlapping, size differences, or upright placement of components in a two-dimensional job-related of art. Examine the miniature paint of the Third Court the the Topkapi Palace from fourteenth-century Turkey to contrast its pictorial an are with the of linear perspective. It’s written from a number of different vantage clues (as opposed to noodles points), all really flat to the snapshot plane. While the as whole image is viewed from above, the figures and also trees show up as cutouts, seeming come float in mid air. Notice the towers on the much left and also right space sideways come the picture plane. The trees and people occupying the upper parts of the image are expected to be viewed as further from the viewer as compared to those trees, buildings and also people located near the bottom of the painting. This is an example of vertical placement.

As “incorrect” as it looks, the painting does offer a detailed description of the landscape and structures on the royal residence grounds.


Third Court that the Topkapi Palace, indigenous the Hunername, 1548. Footrest miniature painting, Topkapi Museum, Istanbul. CC BY-SA

After almost five hundred years using straight perspective, western ideas about how space is depicted accurately in two dimensions went through a transformation at the start of the 20th century. A young Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso, moved to Paris, climate western culture’s capital of art, and also largely transformed pictorial space with the development of Cubism, ushered in drastically by his paint Les Demoiselles d’Avignon in 1907. That was influenced in component by the chiseled forms, angular surfaces and also disproportion of african sculpture (refer ago to the Male Figure from Cameroon) and also mask-like faces of early on Iberian artworks. For an ext information around this necessary painting, hear to the complying with question and answer.

In the early on 20th century, Picasso, his girlfriend Georges Braque and also a grasp of other artists struggled to build a brand-new space that relied on, ironically, the flatness that the picture plane come carry and animate timeless subject matter consisting of figures, still life and also landscape. Cubist pictures, and eventually sculptures, became amalgams of various points the view, irradiate sources and planar constructs. That was as if they were presenting their subject matter in plenty of ways at once, every the while moving foreground, center ground and background therefore the viewer is not sure where one starts and the other ends. In an interview, the artist explained cubism this way: “The difficulty is currently to pass, come go around the object, and give a plastic expression come the result. Every one of this is my struggle to break through the two-dimensional aspect*”(from Alexander Liberman, An Artist in His Studio, 1960, page 113). Public and vital reaction to cubism to be understandably negative, but the artists’ experiments with spatial relationship reverberated v others and also became – along with brand-new ways of using shade – a driving pressure in the breakthrough of a contemporary art movement that based chin on the flatness of the snapshot plane. Instead of a home window to look at into, the flat surface i do not care a ground on i m sorry to build formal species of shapes, colors and also compositions. For an additional perspective top top this idea, refer earlier to module one’s discussion of ‘abstraction’.

You have the right to see the radical transforms cubism made in George Braque’s see La Roche Guyon from 1909. The trees, houses, castle and also surrounding rocks comprise nearly a single complex form, stair-stepping increase the canvas come mimic the remote hill at the top, all of it struggling upwards and leaning come the right within a shallow photographic space.


George Braque, Castle in ~ La Roche Guyon, 1909. Oil ~ above canvas. Stedelijk van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, Netherlands. Licensed v GNU and an imaginative Commons

As the cubist layout developed, that forms ended up being even flatter. Juan Gris’s The Sunblind from 1914 splays the tho life that represents throughout the canvas. Collage elements like newspaper reinforce pictorial flatness.


Juan Gris, The Sunblind, 1914. Gouache, collage, chalk, and charcoal top top canvas. Tate Gallery, London. Photo licensed under GNU free Documentation License

It’s no so an overwhelming to know the prominence of this new idea of an are when placed in the context of comparable advancements in science bordering the revolve of the nineteenth century. The light Brothers took to the air v powered trip in 1903, the exact same year Marie Curie won the an initial of 2 Nobel prizes for her pioneering work in radiation. Sigmund Freud’s brand-new ideas top top the inner spaces the the mind and also its impact on behavior were released in 1902, and also Albert Einstein’s calculations top top relativity, the idea that an are and time are intertwined, an initial appeared in 1905. Each of this discoveries added to human being understanding and also realligned the way we look in ~ ourselves and our world. Indeed, Picasso, speaking of his struggle to specify cubism, stated “Even Einstein walk not understand it either! The problem of discovery is external ourselves; yet the terrifying thing is that regardless of all this, we deserve to only uncover what us know” (from Picasso ~ above Art, A selection of Views by Dore Ashton, (Souchere, 1960, web page 15).

Three-dimensional room doesn’t experience this fundamental transformation. It stays a visual and actual relationship in between positive and an adverse spaces.

5. Value and also Contrast

Value (or tone) is the family member lightness or darkness that a shape in relation to another. The worth scale, bounded top top one end by pure white and also on the various other by black, and in in between a series of significantly darker shades the grey, gives an artist the devices to do these transformations. The value scale listed below shows the traditional variations in tones. Values near the lighter end of the spectrum are termed high-keyed, those on the darker finish are low-keyed.


Value Scale, 11 July 2012, Creator: Oliver Harrison, CC BY

In two dimensions, the use of value provides a shape the illusion of type or mass and lends an entire composition a feeling of light and shadow. The two examples below show the effect value has on transforming a shape to a form.

This same method brings come life what begins as a simple line drawing of a young masculine head in Michelangelo’s Head that a Youth and a ideal Hand from 1508. Shading is developed with heat (refer to our conversation of line previously in this module) or tones created with a pencil. Artists differ the tones by the amount of resistance lock use between the pencil and the document they’re drawing on. A illustration pencil’s leads vary in hardness, each one providing a various tone 보다 another. Washes of squid or color create values identified by the lot of water the medium is liquified into.

The usage of high contrast, placing lighter areas of value versus much darker ones, create a dramatic effect, when low contrast gives an ext subtle results. These differences in effect are apparent in ‘Guiditta and also Oloferne’ by the Italian artist Caravaggio, and also Robert Adams’ photo Untitled, Denver from 1970-74. Caravaggio uses a high contrast palette to an currently dramatic scene to increase the visual stress for the viewer, if Adams deliberately makes use that low comparison to underscore the drabness the the landscape surrounding the figure on the bicycle.


Caravaggio, Guiditta Decapitates Oloferne, 1598, oil ~ above canvas. Nationwide Gallery of Italian Art, Rome. This job-related is in the public domain

6. Color

Color is the most complex artistic aspect because of the combinations and also variations inherent in that is use. Human beings respond to color combinations differently, and also artists study and also use color in component to give wanted direction to their work.

Color is fundamental to numerous forms the art. The relevance, usage and duty in a given work rely on the medium of the work. If some principles dealing with color are broadly applicable across media, others space not.

The complete spectrum of colour is contained in white light. People perceive colors from the light reflected off objects. A red object, for example, look at red due to the fact that it shows the red component of the spectrum. It would be a different color under a different light. Shade theory an initial appeared in the 17th century once English mathematician and also scientist sir Isaac Newton found that white light can be divided into a spectrum by passing it v a prism.

The examine of shade in art and design frequently starts through color theory. Shade theory splits increase colors right into three categories: primary, secondary, and also tertiary.

The straightforward tool provided is a shade wheel, developed by Isaac Newton in 1666. A more complex model known as the color tree, produced by Albert Munsell, mirrors the spectrum made up of sets of tints and also shades on connected planes.

There space a number of approaches to arranging colors into coherent relationships. Many systems differ in framework only.

Traditional Model

Traditional shade theory is a qualitative attempt to theorem colors and their relationships. It is based on Newton’s shade wheel, and also continues to be the most usual system offered by artists.

Traditional shade theory uses the same values as subtractive shade mixing (see below) however prefers various primary colors.

The primary colors space red, blue, and also yellow. You uncover them equidistant from each other on the shade wheel. These are the “elemental” colors; not produced by mixing any type of other colors, and also all various other colors are derived from some combination of these three.The secondary colors space orange (mix that red and also yellow), green (mix that blue and also yellow), and violet (mix that blue and red).The tertiary colour are acquired by mix one major color and one secondary color. Relying on amount of shade used, various hues can be obtained such as red-orange or yellow-green. Neutral colors (browns and grays) can be blended using the three main colors together.White and black lie external of these categories. They are used to lighten or darken a color. A lighter color (made by adding white come it) is called a tint, while a darker shade (made by adding black) is referred to as a shade.

Color Mixing

Think about color together the result of light reflecting off a surface. Taken in this way, color can be represented as a proportion of quantities of primary color mixed together. Shade is produced when parts of the outside light source’s spectrum are took in by the material and not reflected earlier to the viewer’s eye. Because that example, a painter brushes blue repaint onto a canvas. The chemistry composition the the repaint allows all of the colors in the spectrum come be absorbed except blue, i beg your pardon is reflected from the paint’s surface. Common applications that subtractive shade theory are supplied in the intuitive arts, color printing and also processing photographic positives and also negatives.

The primary colors space red, yellow, and blue.The secondary colors room orange, green and violet.The tertiary colour are created by mix a primary with a secondary color.Black is blended using the three major colors, if white to represent the absence of every colors. Note: since of impurities in subtractive color, a true black color is impossible to produce through the mixture that primaries. Thus the an outcome is closer to brown. Comparable to additive shade theory, lightness and also darkness the a color is figured out by its intensity and density.

Color Attributes

There space many characteristics to color. Every one has actually an result on exactly how we consciousness it.

Hue refers to shade itself, but likewise to the sport of a color.Value (as discussed previously)refers to the loved one lightness or darkness of one shade next come another. The value of a color can make a distinction in exactly how it is perceived. A color on a dark elevator will show up lighter, while the same shade on a irradiate background will show up darker.Saturation refers come the purity and intensity of a color. The primaries space the many intense and also pure, however diminish as they are mixed to form other colors. The production of tints and also shades also diminish a color’s saturation. Two colors job-related strongest together when they re-publishing the exact same intensity.

Color Interactions

Beyond producing a mixing hierarchy, shade theory additionally provides tools for understanding how colors work-related together.


The simplest shade interaction is monochrome. This is the usage of sport of a single hue. The advantage of utilizing a monochromatic shade scheme is the you acquire a high level the unity transparent the artwork because all the tones relate to one another. See this in mark Tansey’s Derrida Queries de Man from 1990.

Analogous Color

Analogous colors are similar to one another. Together their surname implies, analogous colors have the right to be uncovered next to one an additional on any 12-part color wheel:

You deserve to see the impact of analogous colour in Paul Cezanne’s oil paint Auvers Panoromic View

Color Temperature

Colors are viewed to have temperatures connected with them. The color wheel is divided into warm and also cool colors. Heat colors variety from yellow to red, while cool colors variety from yellow-green to violet. You can achieve complex results using just a few colors as soon as you pair them in warm and also cool sets.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors room found straight opposite one another on a shade wheel. Here are some examples:

purple and yellowgreen and redorange and blue

Blue and orange room complements. When inserted near each other, complements develop a visual tension. This shade scheme is desirable when a dramatic impact is necessary using only two colors.

7. Texture

At the most simple level, Three-dimensional works of art (sculpture, pottery, textiles, metalwork, etc.) and architecture have actually actual texture which is often established by the product that was supplied to create it: wood, stone, bronze, clay, etc. Two-dimensional works of art choose paintings, drawings, and also prints may shot to display implied texture with the use of lines, colors, or various other ways. Once a painting has a the majority of actual structure from the applications of thick paint, we speak to that impasto.

The first image listed below is a sculpture, and also like every three-dimensional objects it has actually actual texture.

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The following two images are details native the paint The Arnolfini Portrait by january van Eyck. Here, the artist has produced implied texture. If you to be to touch this paint you would not feel the cloth of the clothing and carpet, the wooden floor or the smooth metal of the chandelier, however our eye “see” the texture.